School of Health Sciences
Biology: Biomedical Sciences
patient-physician relationship, cultural barriers, language barriers, health illiteracy, solutions
Health Policy | Medical Humanities
Lynch, Corrilynn, "The Patient-Physician Relationship: Overcoming Language and Cultural Barriers" (2019). Senior Honors Theses. 860.
The patient-physician relationship governs the field of medicine, forming the basis for all relationships, interactions, and procedures in medicine. The degree to which a patient trusts his physician and thus is willing to be receptive to medical advice and adhere to assigned treatment is dependent on the quality of his relationship with his physician. The method of relationship chosen will dictate how the patient feels he is perceived and thus to what extend he will participate in his healthcare. A patient-centered approach to medicine will increase this confidence and lead to improved clinical results. Additionally, the rise of physician burnout has also had an effect on this foundational relationship, creating division between the patient and his physician primarily due to complaints against the excessive use of EHRs (electronic health records) and time constraints. Furthermore, in a country of immigrants, the differences in not only language but also between separate cultures and levels of health literacy divides physicians and large populations of their limited English proficiency (LEP) patients. This is a huge detriment to the patient-physician relationship. Lawmakers have created federal and state laws in an effort to install legal action to remedy this, but significant work is still needed to fully bridge the gap. Several solutions have been proposed to do this with the hopeful effect of finally providing equal and better care to all.